Vinyl Imprint Paper Bag Vintage Launches

With its launch officially announced Monday, Paper Bag Vintage is up and running, or pressing. An offshoot of well-established and highly-regarded independent label Paper Bag Records, PBV is a new vinyl-only imprint with a very focused mandate.

In an interview with FYI last week, Paper Bag Vintage head Noah Fralick explained that the label “will focus on Canadian artists only. We will have a very carefully curated selection of Canadian releases that have either never been pressed to vinyl or have been out of print for a long time.”

The first PBV release will be a reissue of The Dears' acclaimed debut album End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story, out for the first time on vinyl on April 21. Art Bergmann's seminal album Remember Her Name will be issued on vinyl for the first time on May 12th, and The Acorn's Glory Hope Mountain (10th Anniversary Edition) is out May 12 (Canada) and May 26 (rest-of-world). 

The label has already assigned catalogue numbers to the first 14 releases, to be spread out over the coming year.

That is a significant number, and the stature of most of the artists included is such that PBV can quickly lay claim to being Canada’s premier vinyl reissue label.

Included in that initial list of PBV releases will be four titles each from The Dears and Great Lake Swimmers, two from Torngat, and single titles from Art Bergmann, The Acorn, Tokyo Police Club and Born Ruffians.

PBV is not restricted to artists signed to Paper Bag Records, with The Dears, Great Lake Swimmers and Bergmann coming from other labels.

Fralick explains that “it has been exciting for us to be allowed to do our own thing outside of affiliation with Paper Bag.

"A lot of careful planning has gone into this, and it has involved us trying to find a way to go to artists who already have a deal with another label, saying ‘we want to do this limited edition thing.’"

"We have no claim on the master rights and we don’t do anything digitally. All we do is ask to press as little as 300 or up to 750 copies of a certain title, then that is it. One and done. For the artists, it can be another item on their merch table and another talking point, but not one that overshadows things."

To Fralick, “at this point, Paper Bag Vintage is not a money-making venture. We just really want to have this collection of vinyl that people can look at as one of the better Canadian collections around.

“For us it is about community and building something. It has been cool to see the openness of the artists and the other labels, who have responded ‘this is a cool idea. I really want to get behind it.’ That encourages us to feel we’re onto something."

Eight titles have already been shipped to Precision, the Toronto pressing plant PBV has selected. "They’ve been fantastic, really playing ball with the smaller runs we are doing,” Fralick says.

Some of the PBV releases will feature new packaging and a de luxe style format. Both The Dears and Great Lake Swimmers releases will be released as box sets (though available individually), with each including a bonus disc featuring out-takes and demo versions.

Fralick reports that The Acorn title, a vinyl reissue of 2007 album Glory Hope Mountain, will include an eight-page booklet provided by the band.

“This will coincide with the 10th anniversary of that release, one that came out on Paper Bag in Canada and Bella Union in the rest of the world. We will have the vinyl for the world now. Some of our international distributors want to have the PBV release for outside Canada, but we will have the world for most of them.”

Given that Tokyo Police Club and Born Ruffians are two of the most popular Canadian indie rock bands of the past decade, interest in their titles is expected to be high.

Fralick gives credit for the idea behind PBV to Paper Bag Records founder Trevor Larocque.

“The label as a whole has become known for doing limited editions and unique runs of vinyl for its artists. With a lot of labels these days the bulk of their revenue is coming from digital. We are in a unique position it that it is almost split, with a slight leaning towards physical.

Our demographic and fans of the label have become used to interesting products on the vinyl side and that thinking went into starting this new imprint.”

Larocque also runs a Toronto record store (Tiny Record Shop), and Fralick terms him “the real expert in the collectors field.”

As well as overseeing Paper Bag Vintage, Fralick continues to work as both a project manager and operations manager at Paper Bag Records, looking after vinyl production for PBR artists and handling such artists as Born Ruffians and The Luyas.

He also has his own artist management company, counting Born Ruffians and Young Rival singer Aron D'Alesio amongst his clients.

Another hat he wears is as drummer for Young Rival, a still very-active Hamilton-based rock band that moved to Paper Bag Records after putting out early releases on Sonic Unyon Records.

"It has been the busiest two years of my life but I love what I’m doing!," he says.



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